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Worldwide Medical Insurance News: Australian govt hits out at UK expatriate pensions policy

Expatriates living in Australia are being backed by the government over their pension rights, the Telegraph reported.

Following the test case brought to the European Court of Human Rights by a group of expat pensioners, an Australian member of parliament has spoken out about the court’s decision to find in the British government’s favour and refuse to grant index-linked state pensions to people living overseas.

Jenny Macklin, minister for families, housing, community services and indigenous affairs, said: "This decision is another blow to the 250,000 UK pensioners living in Australia who paid their contributions into the UK National Insurance fund in good faith," the newspaper reported.

"The Australian government believes this policy is discriminatory. We have been actively lobbying the UK government on this issue."

She said she had spoken to the Department for Work and Pensions about the expatriate pensions issue and will continue to pursue the matter.

The UK’s policy not to grant pensioners overseas the full amount of inflation-linked increases "severely disadvantages" British expats living in Australia, Ms Macklin added.

She said the policy places a burden on all Australian taxpayers who have to foot the bill for around 170,000 expats who also receive means-tested Australian pensions, which works out at about A$ 100 million (£60 million) a year.

Her comments came after debt charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service research found that British expats living abroad were having financial problems due to the weakening pound and volatile exchange rates.

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